Changes in the Indian Consumer

When India opened its economy to the global marketplace in the early 1990s, many multinational

Corporations rushed in to pursue its middle-class consumers—an estimated 200 million people—only to

Confront low incomes, social and political conservatism, and resistance to change. It turned out that the

Indian consumer was a tough one to figure out and win over.

Things are changing. Although attitudes remain complex, they have shifted substantially toward
consumerism, particularly over the past decade. The country’s recent economic performance is a factor,
of course. For three years, GDP growth has been strong and sustained, at an average annual rate of

Around 8%. The population’s demographic profile also plays a role: Indians constitute a fifth of the
world’s citizens below age 20. So a youthful, exuberant generation, weaned on success, is joining the
ranks of Indian consumers.

Consumer Behaviour is changing in India 

Recently India is undergoing a huge change in consumer behaviour. We are undergoing huge changes in last 5-6 years and off course, more to come. The road of super market now opened into a trendy ‘Mall Business’. People don’t always go to the malls only for shopping; it became a joint for a date or cool place to meet friends. “Window Shoppers” are more than actual shoppers. The concept of “Ghost Shoppers” is yet to come here, which will also happen eventually to keep the quality of the retail outlets. Buyers are God now, more knowledgeable and having more options in their hands before they decide to purchase and invest their money.

 View of Malls in Gurgaon Area. In a diversified country like India cultural factors exert the broadest and deepest influence on consumer behaviour; we will look at the role played by the buyer’s culture, subculture, and social class.

Culture: Culture is the most fundamental determinant of a person’s wants and behaviour. Whereas lower creatures are governed by instinct, human behaviour is largely learned. The child growing up in a society leans a basic set of values, perceptions, preferences and behaviours through a process of socialization involving the family and other key institution .Thus a child growing up in India is exposed to the following values: Achievement and success, activity , efficiency and practicality, progress, material comfort, individualism, freedom, external comfort, humanitarianism, and youthfulness. 

Social Factors: A consumer’s behaviour is also influenced by social factors, such as the consumer’s reference group, family, and social roles and statuses. 

Reference Group: A person’s behaviour is strongly influenced by many group .A persons reference group are those groups that have a direct (face to face) or indirect influence on the person’s attitudes or behaviour. Group having a direct influence on a person are called membership group. These are group to which the person belongs and interacts. Some are primary groups. With which there is fairly continuous interaction, such as family, friends, neighbours, and co-workers. Primary group tend to be informal. The person also belong to secondary group, which tend to be more formal and where there is less continuous interaction: they include religious organizations, professional associations, and trade unions. 

Family Group: Members of the buyer’s family can exercise a strong influence on the buyer’s behaviour. We can distinguish between two families in the buyer’s life. The family of orientation consists of one’s parents. From parents a person acquires an orientation towards religious, politics, and economics and a sense of personal ambitions, self –worth, and love. Even if the buyer no longer interacts very much with his or her parents, the parents influence on the unconscious behaviour of the buyer can be significant. In countries where parents continue to live with their children, their influence can be substantial like India. In case of expensive products and services, husband and wives engage in more joint decision making. The market needs to determine which member normally has the greater influence in the purchase of a particular products or services. Either the husband or the wife, or they have equal influence. The following products and services fall under such: Husband – dominant: life insurance, automobiles, television Wife – dominant: washing machines, carpeting, non –living – room furniture, kitchenware Equal: Living – room furniture, vacation, Housing, outside entertainment. Their researches were made on the Indian people’s social life, personal tastes and preferences, way of life, how they identify an effective product and what makes them get attracted towards a product. The social and economic conditions were analyzed. The general economy of India was also researched on. They had modified their product to suit the Indian conditions. Their technology had to be adjusted and suited to such an extent that their car is adaptable to Indian conditions. Indians are generally prone to be rough and tough customers and especially taking into account the road conditions and other social factors they designed the product in such a way that it’s best suited to the conditions and it’s received by the target customers. Today Ford is enjoying a huge market in India.